In February 2009 I took a trip to Australia. I have a close friend who lives there and decided it was time to visit her.
I absolutely fell in love with Australia! This is more of a sidenote, but I seriously cried for days after returning home from that trip. I started looking for jobs in Australia, as well as looked into selling my condo. I loved it there, and often daydream about going back.
My friend was born and raised in Australia. Aussie all the way (Oy, Oy, Oy!)! We traveled all around seeing as much as possible in 16 days. (For anyone thinking of going to Australia, seriously, give yourself at least a month.) One of our stops was in the Queensland Goldcoast area. Our first day there we decided to walk down the beach and figure out our day as we went along, as I often like to do while traveling. I’m more of a “wing it’ kind of person. As in buffalo, fried, sweet and sour…you name it (as long as I can dip it in ranch or blue cheese dressing).
As I sprawled out on the sand like a lubed up beached whale, I decided I couldn’t take the heat anymore and suggested to my friend that perhaps we should take a dip. The waves looked rather menacing and I’m an awful swimmer, but I ran and tumbled into the waves like a seasoned Jesse White Tumbler. As we frolicked in the salty surf we talked about taking surf lessons AND maybe renting boogie boards. We were positively giddy and although we were just standing there, in my mind when I reflect on that moment I felt like we were holding hands, jumping up and down and giggling like schoolgirls. Herman’s Hermits “I’m Into Something Good” may have even been blasting from a non-existent stereo. This is how life should be!
Then, all of a sudden, I felt a searing heat on my legs. It felt like someone had just branded me with a cattle prod. At the exact same time my friend and I both began shrieking, “What is this?” It felt like weeds around my legs, which I kicked off and ran out of the water. It was the most intense pain I remember feeling around both my calves and thighs. We ran to our towels very confused and jumping around in pain. Our conversation sounded a lot like this: “Owww. Ouch. What the hell? Ouch. Fuck. Ouch. This really fucking hurts. What the hell was that? Ouch. Fucking hurts. Ouch!”
We surmised that we had been stung by “stingers.” At a loss for what to do to end the pain, we decided to run to the nearby surf shop where we were greeted with tan, laid back surfers who did not seem at all concerned with our plight. “Why don’t you wee on each other” one smug bloke said with a smile. I think the perv just wanted to watch. I winked and handed him our room key, then we ran to the local McDonald’s (in our bare feet I might add – I have a VERY big problem being in public with bare feet – this is how much pain I was in). We asked for two big cups of ice and alternated rubbing ice on each other’s legs, cursing as well as laughing at our situation.
I’m pretty sure I also bought a cherry Icee. They are so delicious! And also…um…I hear…um…they help with jellyfish stings?
My friend had lived in Australia her entire life (26 years), swimming in the ocean HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of times and never once been stung by a “jelly.” The second I come into town, we are swarmed by them.
We decided to forego the beach for the rest of the day and instead went back to our hotel to swim and nurse our wounds. As we were walking back to the hotel we saw the no swimming signs dotting the sand, as well as hundreds of Blue Bottle jelly fish that had washed up on shore. Apparently the sign hander-outers had forgot to put a sign in the sand where our asses were planted. Great.
Our legs seriously were on fire for a good 24 hours. I figured two of those little fuckers had wrapped their 4-feet tentacles around my calves and thighs. I actually had a scar around my right calf for a few months.
I literally invite disaster wherever I go. My friend who LIVES in Australia had never been stung nor known anyone stung. Yet, I go swimming in the ocean for two minutes and like a magnet attract hundreds of the creatures to come frolic with me.
For anyone who is stung by a jellyfish in Australia, the only remedy I found was to go out and drink excessively, dance and hang out with some 18-year-old boys.
Yes, I am smiling creepily right now.